Four decades ago, Deena Katz looked at her classroom of first-graders and realized teaching them to read wasn't her passion. It was too stressful.
That her passion was managing other people's money – frequently quite a lot of it – well, that was stress the longtime financial adviser could handle. Katz opened her own financial advising firm in Chicago in the 1970s, then moved to Miami where she and her now-husband, Harold Evensky, partnered to create Evensky & Katz Wealth Management.
Fifteen years ago, after a thriving career as a financial adviser and a successful surgery and treatment to beat breast cancer, Katz pivoted again, this time to Texas Tech University, one of only two universities in the nation with a personal financial planning (PFP) program. She talked to program director Vickie Hampton about her desire to focus on mentoring and teaching the upcoming financial planners.
That program, through the work of now-professor Katz and many others, has become one of the best PFP programs in the country.
Little wonder, then, that InvestmentNews picked Deena Katz for its lifetime achievement award.
"The decision to name Deena Katz as the recipient of the 2016 Alexandra Armstrong Award was unanimous among all the members of the nominating committee, including Ms. Armstrong herself," said Frederick P. Gabriel Jr., editor of InvestmentNews. "Deena has not only served her clients well and advanced the profession of financial advice, but she is a valuable role model for any woman in the advice business or thinking about entering the business. Deena epitomizes the spirit of this award."
For the second straight year, InvestmentNews put Katz on its 2016 Women to Watch list and gave her the Alexandra Armstrong Award, recognizing her for a lifetime of achievements in both the professional and educational aspects of financial planning.
"It's embarrassing to be given an award for something I truly love," Katz said. "I can only hope my career path can help pave the way for more young women choosing this career."
Katz, still chairwoman of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial Wealth Management in Miami, was named to the Investment Advisor 35 for 35 list in 2015 as well as Accounting Today's Top Ten Names to Know in Financial Planning and Financial Planning Magazine's Most Influential People in the Planning Profession.
She has authored nine books, including "Deena Katz's Complete Guide to Practice Management," "Deena Katz's Tools and Templates for Financial Advisers" and "Deena Katz on Practice Management."